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Musicians with Hearing Aids

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GUEST,vixen@work 13 Feb 02 - 09:30 AM
C-flat 13 Feb 02 - 09:43 AM
Bill D 13 Feb 02 - 12:26 PM
Matthew Edwards 13 Feb 02 - 12:48 PM
bet 13 Feb 02 - 01:12 PM
katlaughing 13 Feb 02 - 01:58 PM
Ebbie 13 Feb 02 - 08:15 PM
Bill D 13 Feb 02 - 09:26 PM
53 13 Feb 02 - 09:45 PM
Mark Cohen 14 Feb 02 - 04:33 AM
Dave Bryant 14 Feb 02 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Vixen @ Work 14 Feb 02 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Don Meixner 14 Feb 02 - 08:52 AM
Bill D 14 Feb 02 - 06:23 PM
Amergin 14 Feb 02 - 06:36 PM
artbrooks 14 Feb 02 - 08:03 PM
Vinland 14 Feb 02 - 09:32 PM
DonMeixner 14 Feb 02 - 09:47 PM
Ebbie 14 Feb 02 - 10:47 PM
katlaughing 15 Feb 02 - 01:29 AM
Mark Cohen 15 Feb 02 - 01:54 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 16 Feb 02 - 12:47 AM
Watson 27 Mar 02 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Vixen @ work 27 Mar 02 - 10:11 AM
Watson 27 Mar 02 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,Vixen @ wk 27 Mar 02 - 11:11 AM
MMario 27 Mar 02 - 11:27 AM
winniemih 28 Mar 02 - 10:45 AM
Desert Dancer 28 Mar 02 - 01:22 PM
Steve Parkes 26 Feb 03 - 04:28 AM
Sarah the flute 26 Feb 03 - 05:53 AM
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Allan C. 26 Feb 03 - 02:26 PM
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GUEST,VIXEN@WORK 28 Feb 03 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,Matthew Edwards 11 Jul 03 - 06:24 AM
Steve Parkes 11 Jul 03 - 07:56 AM
Noreen 11 Jul 03 - 09:17 AM
Mrs.Duck 11 Jul 03 - 11:46 AM
PoppaGator 11 Jul 03 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,PAMO 12 Jul 03 - 12:32 PM
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Vixen 05 Sep 03 - 02:41 PM
harpgirl 20 Mar 04 - 06:18 PM
Matthew Edwards 20 Mar 04 - 08:10 PM
Bill D 20 Mar 04 - 08:31 PM
Stepper 20 Mar 04 - 08:42 PM
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Sir Roger de Beverley 21 Mar 04 - 06:32 AM
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Roger the Skiffler 22 Mar 04 - 03:45 AM
Steve Parkes 22 Mar 04 - 07:03 AM
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harpgirl 22 Mar 04 - 02:03 PM
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McGrath of Harlow 23 Mar 04 - 04:48 PM
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Subject: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,vixen@work
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:30 AM

OK Mudcats--I know I'm not alone here...

How many of us want to admit we're wearing hearing aids???

I've been wearing them off and on since I was 8. Today, I go for my first "annual" checkup--up to last year, I was on a "every five years" checkup schedule. Last year, I slipped from "mild to moderate" into "moderate to severe," a rather big jump, considering there had been very little change over the previous 30 years. I know this topic has appeared from time to time (I did a forum search on hearing aids!) but I'm looking for some detailed info. Any thoughts you have on the topic are gratefully appreciated!

So here's the questions:

1) If you wear hearing aids, what are you wearing and how do you like it?

2) If you wear hearing aids, what instrument do you play, and how do the aids affect your playing?

3) If you wear hearing aids and SING, I'd like to know how you do it...

4) I've been reading that singing and other musical endeavors can actually exacerbate/accelerate hearing loss...what has your experience been?

Thank you much!!!

V


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: C-flat
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:43 AM

I'm not a hearing aid wearer but have played with some wonderful musicians who are! I must admit to being curious as to how difficult it was to operate in a band with so many other sound frequencies at once but these guy's clearly didn't have a problem and I felt a little uncomfortable raising the topic with them.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 12:26 PM

If you are in the moderate to severe range, part of this will not apply but here goes...

I got aids for both ears two years ago....kinda expensive digital ones. They do help, but they are not magic wands that make everything perfect.(Mine are Danavox..but remember, the advances are so rapid, like computers, that top brands & features change pretty fast)

Since I do not have 'profound' hearing loss, I can get by without them, but for some situations, they are a GREAT help. (Most of my problems are in high frequency ...with some general volume loss).

Digitals can be programmed to do lots of trick these days, from volume control to directionality (which is what I got..I can choose 'surround sound' or focus on either 180° or narrow 'straight ahead' sound.

As to music, it helps me hear when the overall sound level is ok...that is, when I am singing or playing (autoharp), or when a single singer or small group is performing...but I have real problems when the noise level goes up...(like a big, group sea chanty..WOW!...OFF go the aids!)

It is a real art form to program these things just right to get close to 'normal' hearing, as the patient often is not sure anymore what normal IS....several trys are often necessary to get an acceptable balance.

When I am playing autoharp, I 'usually' do without the left one and just rest my ear on the 'harp as usual, but for singing, it depends on whether I am alone or in a group...I often remove one or the other of the aids to see what 'feels' best. (Cupping the hand too close can cause feedback squeal...so...*shrug*)

for many detailed answers froma MUCH wider variety of users, you might try the alt.support.hearing-loss newsgroup (which you can access thru Google Groups or your own server, perhaps.

I read this a LOT when about to get aids,,,info on prices, batteries, tricks, etc......

good luck...let me know if I can be more specific


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 12:48 PM

Bill D thanks for that information. I wear an old- fashioned National Health Service behind the ear device in one ear, and am completely deaf in the other ear. I have had a severe to profound hearing loss since age five after a bout of measles (hence I have very strong views on the importance of vaccination BTW), and always wear my aid.

As a child my music teachers told me I was hopeless at recognising notes, and so up until a year ago I never considered singing or playing but simply enjoyed listening to others. However at Towersey Festival last year I joined in the singing in the Barn, went on to Llanstock and sang some more, started writing some of my own songs, which I have since sung in folk clubs and just last weekend at the Stony Stratford Gathering. I wish I had done this sooner!!

I'd have to admit that my pitch can "wobble" a bit, and I'm not very good in harmonies as the note I think I'm singing isn't necessarily the one I'm actually uttering. I do have to put up with a lot of distortion of sound, and I cannot cope in any environment where there is a lot of noise. I am waiting for the day when the NHS issues digital aids generally, and hope that it will be in my lifetime.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: bet
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 01:12 PM

Matthew, Every time I hear a story like yours it makes me wonder what those music teachers were thinking of. It really is unkind to tell a child there is no hope. There is always hope. As long as the child is doing his/her best that is all we can ask for. bet


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 01:58 PM

Yeah, but then bet you are an exceptional teacher and there just aren't many as good as you or who care as much as you do.*smile* I'd say that even if I wasn't your sister!

Mathew, good for you! Glad you went to the Mudgatherings and started singing!

I have a theory that I've posted somewhere before that playing violin/fiddle causes one ear to hear betterwith one ear than the other. I cam constantly listening more with my left ear, I think because of that, but I've never had it checked to see if that is really so. Then, again, if I cock my head to hear something better, I invariably use my right more, so who knows!?

kat


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 08:15 PM

Thanks for this topic. I have a fiddler friend whose hearing loss has become quite evident and who goes 'off' far enough that several other lead players (mandolin and banjo) really don't want to play with him anymore. They say that if he were to switch to a fretted instrument, such as a mando, which he also plays, that it would buy him a lot of playing time.

The friend has mentioned his hearing loss to me but I've never told him that we're aware of it. Is there a tactful way of encouraging him to check out hearing aids? From what I hear (no pun intended), often the aids are not really all that helpful- and they certainly are expensive for a retired guy such as he is.

On the other hand, he's been in a band since he was 15 years old and music is the number one thing in his life...

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:26 PM

the REALLY good one are not cheap...but even one can help..The real job is to get him to an audiologist for a test to find out what is needed.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: 53
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:45 PM

If i'd kept on playing with my band I probaly would have lost my hearing very soon, cause we played so loud. As far as I can tell, right now I can hear pretty good.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 04:33 AM

Bob, if you played a lot of loud rock music, you may have lost more hearing than you think. I'd suggest a visit to a good audiologist...you may not know how much you're missing. To find a reputable audiologist, check out the website of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association -- there's also general information there about hearing loss and hearing aids.

By the way, vixen, I searched the ASHA site for "music", and couldn't find anything specific. But I'll bet if you asked them, they could point you to an audiologist with a special interest in musicians, who might be able to give you some useful information.

Aloha,
Mark (who fortunately hears OK, but some of my little patients don't)


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 06:03 AM

I have quite a serious hearing loss in my left ear since I was attacked with a chair in a pub bar twenty or so years ago. (No Breezy and others - not because someone didn't like my singing !)

When I sing with Linda you'll notice she always stands to my right - otherwise I have difficulty hearing her. I do have a standard "behind the ear" National Health hearing aid, but find it more hindrance than help when I'm singing.

Are the more expensive aids much better ? If so, in what way - louder - clearer - wider frequency responce - smaller ?

Also what sort of prices are we talking ?


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Vixen @ Work
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 08:27 AM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again--Mudcats are the best!

I've had impressions taken for in-the-ear Siemens Signia Digital 2-channel programmable aids. They spozedly on a special purchase deal until the end of February, and they will run me about $3800 for the pair. The top-of-the line digital programmable aids would be around $4800 the pair. I'm going to try the Signias and see how they do for me...ANYTHING will be an improvement over my linear analog BTE aids from 1987. If the Signias don't cut it, my audiologist is more than willing to help me figure out what will work.

I go for my fitting the first week of March...I'll post an update and let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I'm still interested in what other musicians are doing with hearing aids.

To answer some of the questions that have come up on the thread:

My left ear is better than my right--so Reynaud always plays on my left side when we're playing together, so I can hear him better. I don't have a problem when I'm playing music with others explaining that I don't hear well, and asking for their assistance with various things. I don't mind questions about my hearing (or lack thereof) from folks who want to make music with me.

I have found my current hearing aids are more of a nuisance than an aid when I'm playing/singing...they simultaneously distort sound and muffle it while amplifying it. This is a function of a combination of analog linear signal processing and ear channel occlusion.

Frets help--I like to plunk around on the fiddle, but I could never play it for real. I wish I had "frets" on my voice, so I could be sure I was always *close* to the right note!

As for tactfully getting someone to have his or her hearing checked, I haven't a clue--my problem was diagnosed in the school system when I was in first grade, and tact was not a concern. The conversation about hearing might be a good place to start...and explore *gently* the idea of getting an evaluation done. It's completely painless and mostly boring. "Press this button when you hear a sound" for about 90 minutes in a soundproof box, followed by "repeat these words" for abount an hour.

Thank you all again!

V


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 08:52 AM

Due to menengitis a sa child in the 50's i lost the hearing in my right ear. I know that in my good ear I hear tones in some frequencies better than others. I have asked about hearing aids off an through the years and was told that they would be a waste of money. My other ear worked well so why bother. Lately I have come to learn that a simple operation will reattach my hearing in that ear, I am hesitant to do it because the possibility of unending tinitus is quite high. Over stimulation of the un used for auditory nerve. I am aware that I have less hearing in my good ear now and this reattachment becomes more of interest to me.

As I work with many speach language pathologists I have a supply of free advice. They think in about 50/50 terms that I should have the op now and not have it at all. I'm in a quandry here so I'll sit it out and read with interest this thread and may be opt for a hearing aid for the good ear.

Don


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 06:23 PM

the price Vixen mentions is approximately the range I paid a couple of years ago....for this you get modern digital technology that can analyze the sound coming in and convert it to the volume and tonal range missing from your own hearing,,,sort of....One thing that is a bit strange is the sound of you own voice being re-cycled, as if you were listening to 'you' from a distance. Weird till you get used to it!

But it really makes a difference not sayin 'huh'? to questions from around a corner. Progress in hearing aids is amazing, and it is always worth trying them!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Amergin
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 06:36 PM

This is interesting to me....I have had problems hearing everything all of my life...and as a result alot of times mumble when I think I am talking loud enough or talk loud when I think I am mumbling (that last has gotten me into lots of trouble)...and have been thinking strongly about getting them.....though have not gotten around to it....


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: artbrooks
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 08:03 PM

I've worn aids (bilateral) since I was about 25...55 now. Just got new ones (Starkey Model SACQSS) that are very different. It's not that they're in-the-ear, since I've worn that type for about 20 years, or even that they are set to amplify different frequencies at different rates. They are also set to "always" broadcast (if that's the correct word) at a set level, so that occasional sudden loud sound doesn't blow you away. I'm still not sure about that feature.

They can be very hard to get used to initially, but I doubt if my marriage would have lasted without them. I'm not a musician, unless you count the nose flute and bodhran, but they definitely make listening more pleasant. Ebbie, I think your fiddler friend would benefit.

BTW, US veterans MAY be able to get them from the VA, and saving $4-$6k is probably worth the effort.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Vinland
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 09:32 PM

Great thread folks!

Like Don M, I've been deaf in one ear since early childhood. Although it's caused a few embarrassing moments (eg. not responding to 'sweet nothings' while close dancing!) I've managed fairly well so far. (I play classical and folk guitar, write songs, and publish songbooks). Lately I've been wondering if I should check out the new technologies, or consider having an operation (I've been told I have 'nerve deafness' in my right ear.) A recent CBC radio "First Person" program featured an amateur singer who raved about his new hearing aid, allowing him to sing harmony much better. Hearing aids probably wouldn't benefit me much (and may damage my good ear) but I've recently become interested in the in-ear monitors that many rock singers have been using recently. They're not cheap (+$500CN for decent ones I believe) but might be very beneficial for the times I sing with others. Many people with 'normal' hearing don't realize how much they rely on their ears for finding the direction of a sound. I suspect there are a few things I'm missing in music - I can't hear the stereo effect, have difficulty separating my voice from those around me, etc. You wonder how much better you might be....

Vinland


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: DonMeixner
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 09:47 PM

Vinland,

Hev considered in ear monitors and researched them some. In a trial I found them , ah, it to be just OK and at times a problem. I could hear only the mix and none of the ambient sound. Also I couldn't hear messages from the guys in the band unless they used the micro phone. Which made it dificult for Jim to point out the "Stunner" who just came in from the extreme cold with only blue jeans and a jersey between her and the night air.

I prefered the old Peavy Hot Spot monitor on a stand at about chest level. I hear all I need to then.

About surgery. Unless there is something new I was told nerve deafness in not repairable unless you go with cochlear implants. Large dollars I'd imagine.

Don


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Ebbie
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 10:47 PM

My friend is out of town at the moment (at the Whitehorse, Yukon Territory Frostbite Festival) but when he comes back, I'm going to be armed with information. Ah, but tact is NOT my strong suit...

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 01:29 AM

Ebbie, he might be relieved that someone has noticed and is brave enough to bring it up and is willing to talk with him and help him out with it. Print this thread out...it'll be a good back-up!:-)

I guess I will go to an audiologist sometime this year. My grandmother told my mom that the women in my family should get their hearing checked. When she had to start wearing hearing aids the docs told her it was probably hereditary and could have been corrected when she was younger, if they'd known about it.

Still, I asked my GP for a hearing check and the woman who did it was suprised at the high range I could hear; she said it was fairly unusual.

Thanks, everyone, for sharing. It's an interesting thread.

kat


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 01:54 AM

By the way, for kat and others with a history of hearing loss that runs in the family, there is a known association between familial hearing problems and familial kidney problems (the classic case is called Alport's syndrome). So have your blood pressure checked and ask your doctor about a couple of simple lab tests to make sure your kidneys are OK. Most kidney disease is "silent" -- no symptoms until it's far advanced.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 16 Feb 02 - 12:47 AM

WHAT ....EAHHH?

Please speak into the cow's horn!@!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Watson
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 09:39 AM

Refreshed as requested.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Vixen @ work
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 10:11 AM

--Watson: Thank you Thank you!!!

Ok folks, here's the update! I've had the Signias nearly a month, and have had one readjustment.

The "normal" program is phenomenal! I can hear all sorts of interesting things that had faded out over the years--Spring peepers and my cat being two of them (not at the same time--Buddy thinks of spring peepers as hors d'ouevres!) Conversations in groups and individually are MUCH MUCH easier. Teaching, where non-confident student responses to pedagogical inquiry tend toward the inaudible, has become far less of a frustration.

There are some things to get used to...hearing myself eat and breathe took some adaptation. Hearing my hair falling around my ears when it's loose was interesting, as was hearing my braids thumping on my back when I ride. Wind noise is a persistent annoyance.

Musically, however, I'm still of mixed mind. Singing (as in pitch perception and reproduction) is much more difficult than it was with no aids. For speech, I don't mind my voice sounding louder and different. For singing, I can't tell anything about what I sound like anymore, and am relying completely on Reynaud for guidance (sharp? flat? too loud? too soft??? too mumbly???) On the other hand--instruments sound WONDERFUL! No more distortion in the very highs and the very lows. My recorder sounds sooooo nice, and my guitar, which I always thought sounded good (better when played by someone who KNOWS how to play) has a wonderful warm sound that I never knew about...now I understand why people are surprised that it's not an expensive guitar...

SOOOO. There's the update.

The new questions:

1) If you wear hearing aids and sing--How DO you do it??? How long did it take to get used to the oddity of what the aids do to your voice? BillD, I can't wait to see you at FSGW this fall to compare notes...

2) If anyone knows an audiologist who specializes in working with musicians, I'd love a name and number. I've searched around the web, but haven't found anyone. My audiologist is wonderful, but he admits the things I'm reporting in the music program are things he doesn't really have much experience with.

Thank you much!

And Watson--thanks again for finding the thread for me!

V


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Watson
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 10:25 AM

My pleasure Vixen.
My hearing is OK, so I have no direct experience of what you describe, but do you think it would be similar to hearing your own voice from a recording?
If that's the case, it just sounds odd because it's not the way you are accustomed to hearing it.
I think you just get used to it in time.
PS...
I think my own voice sounds awful!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Vixen @ wk
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 11:11 AM

Well, Watson, I know what you're saying about the recorded voice...I hate my voice on tape. If I get recorded for public consumption, I'll be one of those artists who never listens to themselves! I use the recorder strictly in private, just to iron out my weak spots. The effect I've got now, however, is different. When I sing wearing the hearing aids, I get a combination of the following sensations:

1) having my fingers in my ears (sort of muffled, but somehow louder)

2) a sort of reverb or maybe chorus effect (I assume it's because I'm getting my voice processed twice--once directly through bone conduction to my auditory nerves and once indirectly through the digital processing)

3) "finding my note" when kicking off a song seems to be more difficult, because my voice now sounds so much different than it used to. It takes me three or four tries to find the note. However, last night Reynaud and I had a "breakthrough:" he transposed a song we do to a better key for his harmony part, and I couldn't find my note at all. Finally, he told me to just listen as he played the whole song through on guitar, and then come in when he got to the verse the second time. I listened and listened, and couldn't find my notes anywhere, but when he got to the verse the second time around, I started in RIGHT ON PITCH! I have NO idea how it happened, but after that, I got my note right away on that song. We're going to try the same trick on the rest of our material (that should keep us busy for a couple of years...)

So...anybody else in the same boat???

V


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: MMario
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 11:27 AM

Vixen - I have that problem with EVERY song!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: winniemih
Date: 28 Mar 02 - 10:45 AM

I wear bilateral hearing aids ( just paid big bucks for digital in the canal Starkeys to replace my old analog pair). Musically, I play guitar and sing, and play fiddle. When I'm switching from one instrument to the other I have to make a lot of adjustments. With the fiddle to my left ear, I have the volume on the aide on that side turned way down (as close to off as it goes) and I have to stand to the left of others I'm playing with or I can't hear them (the right volume is only down a little). When I sing I need to have the volume in both ears at normal or my voice sounds distorted. I can't play without them, however, as my pitch is way off (my loss is in the higher frequencies).


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 28 Mar 02 - 01:22 PM

Thanks for this interesting thread. My dad, who was a fine singer, is now (at 81) very deaf. It's been a struggle - for him have to work so hard to interact with people (like me, he's a bit shy) and a struggle for me, as I get to where I'm appreciating my family history of music, to have him losing touch with it.

He has been wearing hearing aids for about 10 years (maybe more). I know nothing of the technical details, but 2 or 3 year's back he went to the kind with with the piece behind the ear.

Mom spent several years complaining of "ear wax" and people mumbling and now has a set of aids herself.

About a year ago I got infections in both ears and spent several scary days in a very impaired state and I bless my lucky stars that everything's back to normal now. More power to those of you who cope with it continually.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: Instrument + Induction loop?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 04:28 AM

Well, I've just joined the club! I have an NHS behind-the-ear analogue type hearing aid, which I'm wearing in my right ear; I'm waiting for an ear-piece for my left ear so I can wear it either side. I've had it a week, and I don't know yet whether it's much help -- everyone I know seems to mumble anyway! I have some loss at high frequencies, but my low-mid range is OK.

I tried it at the folk club last Thursday, and took it out before we got under way: there was too much noise from people talking, tuning and warming up. Now, my main problem is: I can't hear what I'm playing very clearly, as the others drown me out. But my mandolin and my new guitar both have built-in electronics, so I wonder if I can connect an induction loop device to them and use my HA on "T"? This would boost the sound of my own instrument, while I could still hear everyone else as usual through my other ear, but without the noise from the HA's mic.

Has anyone tried this, or can anyone offer advice or suggestions?

Steve


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 05:53 AM

This thread is amazing!
We recently had a school inspection and much hilarity was directed towards the fact that the music inspector wore a very obvious hearing aid!
I think this redresses the balance! .... mudcatters have the last laugh!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 11:25 AM

I wear the Siemans digital, programmable hearing aids similar to the ones Vixen describes. They are much better than the cheaper ones I have worn with volume controls. If your hearing is changing, it is a simple matter for an audiologist to readjust them. I have nerve damage and tinitis (sp?) in both ears, from chidhood damage (measles) compounded by loud rock and roll. Over 60% loss in each ear. Without hearing aids,I could not play. It's impossible for me to separate sounds, leading to considerable difficulties when I was a high school teacher. I have no high end to my hearing, so everything sounds muffled and distant. I hear myself better with hearing aids, helping with accuracy and balance. I play piano and banjo primarily, two loud instruments, yet the aids are necessary. It was a revelation to put them on and listen to music, discovering a brightness in my favorite recordings I'd never heard before, even with other hearing aids. My singing too is imporved, again with accuracy and brightness. Just cover your ears sometime and record yourself trying to sing on key.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 11:49 AM

This thread has been a real eye-opener (or should I say ear-opener) - I don't use aids, but know an excellent musician who recently experienced hearing loss, and I've wondered what he was coping with.

At our district fiddle jams there is a woman who plays piano when her husband fiddles. Since the pianos are usually placed so that her back is to him as he plays through the mic, she has a separate little mic and transmitter that she clips to a music stand sitting near the mics. Apparently this is received directly by her hearing aid. She also sets this up in the middle of a "jam circle" so as to hear everything evenly.

I guess the one question I have is why are hearing aids so expensive?
The prices quoted above are more than a top notch stereo system. Is it because of the "captive" market, or that fewer are sold and they need to recoup R&D costs?

What percentage of the population has hearing problems? I know about 10% are left-handed, is there a corresponding figure for hearing loss?


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Guest Jimk
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 12:23 PM

I wear behind the ear aids called a bi- cross. I am completely deaf in my left ear and about 80% deaf in my right.I have Meniere's disease and it's a real horror show trying to play. I play harmonica in a blues band and the notes all sound a whole step too low all the time. My pitch is gone but I carry on as best I can with the help of others in the band.Playing with confidence is a real challenge.I play many solo pieces and trad. irish music. You have to be a little bit nuts to hang on as long as I have.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Allan C.
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 02:26 PM

I spent a horrid amount of money about five years ago for some Miracle Ear aids - the dinky little ones that are inserted in the canals. I am diagnosed with "high hearing loss", meaning that I cannot hear some of the high frequency sounds. (I'm reasonably sure the cause had something to do with being required to operate a jack-hammer inside of an underground concrete vault without proper hearing protection, but who is to say?) Fortunately, my problem is very minor and I can (and do) usually function fairly well without the use of the aids. Some of you might not know what that mean in practical terms and so I will attempt to explain what it is like for those of us who have this problem.

Consonant sounds such as {f and v,} {t, p, k and d,} and s are particularly difficult to discern under certain circumstances because of the high-frequency sounds that are part of what makes them different from one another. Pick a sentence or two from what I have written so far and write them down in pencil. Now erase all instances of those letters I named. Yes, if you look carefully, you can usually still figure out the words; but it isn't very easy. Now, imagine doing that mentally with every sentence you hear. You are getting close to understanding the concept.

The difficulty for many of us who have this problem is that without the use of aids, we find ourselves trying to decipher one sentence (context often offering the chief clues) while the next one is being spoken. Quickly, we get too far behind to be able to make sense of what we have taken in. The more background noise there is, the more difficult the task becomes. We come to rely heavily on reading lips to get a better idea of which sounds are being formed.

It may be hard for you to imagine how exhausting this all can be. I once worked in a convenience store in which lottery tickets were sold. Folks ordering those tickets are not very forgiving when you punch the wrong numbers for them. But fifteen can sound so very much like fifty, you know. And sixty might actually be fifty unless I am lip reading. The level of concentration I had to maintain at all times in order to keep from mishearing someone wore me to a frazzle long before the workday was done.

I have found that there are some people whom I can't hear very well at all without my aids. Sadly, they are all women. I think it may be because some of them speak with especially breathy voices, making it even more difficult to discern consonant sounds.

I can't hear whispers very well. If you stop to think about it, whispering relies very heavily on the consonant sounds, right? So when my lover (Okay, let's assume I have one for the purposes of this discussion, okay?) whispers something at an intimate moment, I will probably have to spoil the moment by asking her to repeat it unless I am wearing my aids.

Most of you who sing know that when singing in a group or in certain other situations when you need to hear yourself, you simply put a finger in one ear. However, let's consider the consequences of putting fingers in both ears. In doing so, you can hear yourself rather loudly, but in an extremely resonant way that is not otherwise possible (without the use of an amplification system). This is nice; but you would quickly find yourself not knowing how loudly you are singing. This is one of the problems with trying to sing while wearing in-the-canal hearing aids. Actually, it can be a problem in everyday conversation as well. For this reason I never wear my aids when I think I might be needing to sing.

Trying to tune my guitar without the use of one of those wonderful Intellitouch devices has become just a little difficult unless I am wearing my aids. I am not really quite sure why. I can usually manage to get somewhere in the general range of the correct pitches; but I think I must not be hearing the finer differences anymore.

I am remembering the first time I tried out my new hearing aids. Suddenly I discovered that I could hear the rush of air through the store's heating ducts. I know that may not seem very impressive to you; but it simply amazed me!

I am sure I don't wear my hearing aids as often as the situation calls for them. In fact, I rarely ever wear them. I feel lucky to still have such an option. The odd thing is (and I have spoken to other aid wearers who have experienced the same thing) after wearing the aids for a period of time, say a week or two, it seems as though my ears somehow re-learn how to hear some of the sounds I have been missing.

My favorite time to wear my aids is when I am walking in the woods and fields. I can hear distant bird chirps, cricket singing and even the rustle of leaves that might otherwise be hidden from my ears. That is so very special for me!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 02:28 PM

I can relate to that, Alan C. Upon buying my new hearing aids, I went home and sat in the living room. Then I got up and checked all around the house to find out where the water was running. My wife finally figured it out: it was the river we lived nearby. I had never heard it before. The ringing never stops or recedes, and while playing in bands it was often too loud to allow sleep. Of course, the music career quickly atrophied. As to accomodations taken in ordinary conversation, I'm afraid I have to fake it a lot. One gets tired of saying "Huh?" or otherwise admitting that you can't keep up with everyone else. I still struggle with dialogue on TV at any volume, and rely instinctively on lip reading. The tendency is to give up trying and become withdrawn (perhaps venting in discussion groups like this one.) People tend to talk to you like you are an idiot if they see your hearing aids or realize that you can't hear them. I discovered this to be true also for those who cannot speak. I had to keep totally silent for six weeks to treat nodes on vocal chords, and when I passed notes to people, I was always treated patronizingly. Slowly I realized that I too treated those with special needs in an unintentionally demeaning manner. As to expense, mine cost $5000 and last an average of 5 years. On top of that, there is little likelihood of finding an insurance plan that pays for this medical necessity. Plenty of people have heavier burdens than I, but this is what hearing loss is like for someone whose primary enjoyment is music.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,VIXEN@WORK
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 12:06 PM

Wow! What a surprise to see this thread revived!

I'm momentarily off to the hearing aid office to pick up my right aid, which has been on the fritz for about a month. Fortunately, Siemens is fixing it for free. The first problem was that the volume control wasn't working correctly; I got it back after that, and it wouldn't hold its program, so I sent it back again. Here's hoping it's OK now!

Anyway, playing music with one of my old bte aids and one of my new ite digital aids has been a bit like running a marathon with one foot in a sneaker and one in a dancing slipper.

Allan C, I didn't realize you used hearing aids at all. Your explanation of what I call "blip-blap," the language I hear without my aids, is perfect. And the exhaustion is something to be reckoned with. I burn out after about 90 minutes in group situations. Can't think, can't talk coherently, can't focus my attention for beans.

On the up-side--my pitch perception and "playing by ear" skills have improved dramatically in the last year (since I got the digital aids) but playing/singing with confidence are still a challenge.

Blessings to all of you who are willing to share your experiences here!

V


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Matthew Edwards
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 06:24 AM

Just reviving this really interesting and (except for Gargoyle's usual crass contribution) helpful thread. I'd love to learn how you are getting on Vixen. I have just spent a small fortune on a new digital aid, after being told that the NHS won't be issuing them locally for another 2 years - and I want better quality hearing now!

After only one day my voice is already changing. Those who know me recognise me by my very clear BBC English accent with a lot of bass, which I've adopted to make me audible to myself! It will be very interesting to see what happens to my singing voice.

It is going to take a while to adapt to the different ways I hear sound, and I'll have to make repeat appointments with my audiologist to get the programming right. I went to a concert last night where the bass notes were very distorted. I'll look up that hearing loss newsgroup for some support and information.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 07:56 AM

I have my other earpices now, and the first one has beed redesigned and works much better. But it's still far from perfect; I'm getting the hang of setting the volume to a useful setting, but I still can't hear what I'm playing if others are playing too. On top of this, my own voice sounds as though my head is underwater! Last week I was told off for singing to quietly -- definitely a first for me! -- because I can't easily judge the volume.

I haven't progressed with my induction loop idea yet, but I'll get it sorted soon. Using headphones with the T setting is a definte improvement, but I don't really want to turn up with cans on my head!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Noreen
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 09:17 AM

Ooh, Matthew! I'm very interested too in how this will affect your sining voice, and hope it only increases the pleasure you get from music.
Look forward to seeing and hearing you on Saturday!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 11:46 AM

Do you plan to listen in while he sins then Noreen? ;¬) Look forward to hearing the new digital you Matthew!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 Jul 03 - 06:08 PM

I've recently begun to experience deterioration in my hearing, and it's nothing I ever expected. Instead of the world becoming more silent, it's getting *noisier* and it is getting more and more difficult to hear and understand what people are saying. I can't hear speech above the ambient background sounds.

A simple/conventional hearing aid that simply amplifies all sounds would be no help at all for this syndrome -- in fact, it would make it worse. I have a friend who has had very poor hearing all his life who is now developing this same problem, and he has been prescribed a new and improved hearing aid. The list price is tremendously expensive, but he got some kind of disability subsidy and was asble to afford it.

I suppose this is one of the many deteriorations that comes with "middle" age. (At 55, m hardly elederly -- but than again, I don't really expect to make it to 110, so I'm past the middle of my years, right?)

Hearing music is no problem -- yet, anyway -- it's hearing conversation at the same time as music that is beyond my capability. (Maybe that's a good thing!)


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,PAMO
Date: 12 Jul 03 - 12:32 PM

Hi Jim! A friend sent this site to us and we have found it very interesting! My husband has Meniere's as well. He has about 15% left in his right ear and nothing in the left. Some residual. We play as a duo and often with others in larger bands. Irish is the main with some old classics thrown in. He has been playing and performing since he was 16 and we are now in our 50's. Still going though! He has tried many different ways of coping with this. Sometimes with aids, sometimes not.   I think mostly that once he establishes the key away from the mic, I give him the nod, and he sings from memory. Very scary. On bad days, when his head is 'under water' he just can't sing at all.   A horrid situation for a singer/songwriter.   He said he will write himself tomorrow with explanations of his problems and attempts to conquer! All the best and keep on singing!!!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 08:30 AM

I've recently acquired a device called the "Conversor", through the generosity of my employers. It's made by a firm called Sense-Sonic,and comprises a radio microphone and a receiver. The receiver goes around your neck on a cord, which contains an induction loop; set the hearing aid to "T" to pick up the signal. The mic has a range of about 20 yards (more outside), and can be switched between directional and non-directional sensitivity; it also has elecrtonics to reduce ambient noise. There's a socket for a conventional mic on the remote unit, so I can plug in my mandolin or the guitar with the pick-up. I tried it out last night at the FC, and it's quite a help. It's handy in the office, and really good in a meeting.

When I've had a bit more musical experience with it I'll report back. It looks quite promising (but pricy at around £380).

Steve


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Vixen
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 02:41 PM

Goodness--a thread that keeps coming back!

I got my hearing aid fixed successfully back in March, and I am now much more comfortable WITH them than WITHOUT them. If I'm going to play music, I wear 'em. If I haven't got 'em for some reason, I don't play/sing.

That Sense-sonic device looks interesting...

V


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: harpgirl
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 06:18 PM

Although only a few clients and no friends have complained about my increasingly poor understanding of words, I finally decided to get an audiology test and my hearing drops right off from the middle of the normal scale in the upper tones. I've got almost nothing at 8,000hertz. Big surprise! Anywho...the audiologist recommended digital hearing aids. I was surprised at the cost.

I have some questions. Is there any way to fix cochlear nerve damage? Do hearing aids really IMPROVE hearing or will I just hear louder clangs, hisses, cicadas, and whistles? Does hearing ever improve? What is the standard deviation on an audiology test? How much variation can I expect if I take the test two more times?

I am really having trouble getting myself around this little piece of reality. I HAVE quickly learned to watch peole's mouths when they talk which does help alot but I hate the idea that I need hearing aids. I HATE IT!!!!!!!!! And of course words on the DVDs helps alot. At movies I miss almost all the dialogue unless I am way up front....waaaaaaaa!!!!! harpy


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:10 PM

Harpgirl, this is tough news indeed, but its good that you're willing to share it here.

As I've been deaf for most of my life I can't guess how hard it feels for you to begin to lose your hearing now, but I'll try to help with some of your questions.

To the best of my understanding nerve damage is irreparable, although there have been some reports of operations which can reconnect some kinds of nerve loss in special cases.

Hearing aids amplify sound - but the digital aids which are now available are very sophisticated instruments which don't just make noises louder. I had to put up with analogue aids for years which did just that - they helped me a great deal, but the digital experience has been a revelation in spite of the cost involved.

Hearing does vary; with the weather, the acoustic environment, your own mood, earwax levels &c...but once it begins to deteriorate it doesn't get better.

So try out a digital, but don't let anyone press you into buying something you don't feel comfortable with. Any reputable seller will allow you a trial period and offer a good aftercare service.

Good luck. I hope you will let us know how you get on, but whatever you do don't let this wreck your young life.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:31 PM

oh, my...hard to come to terms with huh? As I said two years ago, they DO help, if adjusted properly....That's why digital ones are expensive, they have delicate little micro-circuits in a small area...they have several different channels of adjustment available, like the controls on a fancy sound system.

If you decide to go digital and vanity is not a big issue, opt for the ones worn over the ear, as it costs MORE to get 'em hidden. It can take several visits to get sound set to suit YOU best, and it WILL take awhile to deal with almost normal hearing again--you simply are overwhelmed at times.

When I got mine, I had a choice of volume control OR directional choice...don't know if that is still the deal, as stuff does change. And...be warned...these little buggers require care! Humidity affects 'em, and they need to go in a special case with dehumidifiers at night...etc..special cleaning tricks for little plastic tubes too..

tedious? Yep..*wry grin*....but they work and can make life a lot easier if they suit you. A good audiologist will have a couple or 3 brands to try, with a temporary ear piece to get a sense of what you need...and...before you commit to anything, do an online price check...especially in that newsgroup I mentioned.. prices can vary wildly!

(also...when you are being fitted and tested...find a way to test the KIND of sounds you need to hear most...if is is voice...fine...or even take the autoharp in and have things set for the best balance for music, if that's an issue. They can only control so many parameters.)


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Stepper
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:42 PM

I have worn hearing aids virtually from the word go, I don't know what normal hearing levels are but I do know how to hear music.

I hear music through my body, I feel the vibrations, the difference in tone,pitch, volume. When I play in a band I can feel when notes are right or wrong, I can feel whether notes harmonise or not. The same is true of singing. Hearing the words to a song is more difficult but lipreading helps.

I am lucky, I have a pair of digital, in the ear danovox aids ( on the NHS) and they are amazing, sounds are so clear and direction is very precise but I still use my instinct to feel the music. Learn to be at one with your body ( sounds cheesy but it is true!!!)


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: harpgirl
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:59 PM

thank you for the kind words of encouragement and information you all.. I am struggling with this reality....I don't like it. But the thought of hearing better is very compelling...


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 10:06 PM

Anyone know of a stereo earphone or hearing aid for a person with only one good ear? Seems to me it could be done. Haven't talked to the hearing specialists yet, but I thought someone at Mudcat might know.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Allan C.
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 11:05 PM

Q, most headphones are equipped with a stereo pin plug that separates the channels. Check with your local Radio Shack to see if you can either find a mono adaptor (which I am not sure is available as such) or if they know someone who could attach a mono plug for you - or show you what you need to do to attach one yourself.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 06:32 AM

At the age of 27 I was told that I had high frequency loss to my hearing in both ears. Having tried standard (NHS) hearing aids in the past and finding things worse with them than without I gave up using them for many years.

However, just before my 57th birthday last year I decided to give digital a try.

At first I trialed the "in the ear" ones but found that they occluded my ears and made everything sound like the inside of a bucket. I also found that this occlusion caused me to feel every footstep up through my body and into my hearing - after a short time of wearing these I started to feel very irritable.

Eventually my audiologist said that I should try what he thought would be the best thing from the start (but I had the vanity thing of using invisibles ones). Behind the ear, digitals with open ear moulds. The open ear pieces let you hear what you can hear anyway and the hearing aid is computer programmed to fill in the missing frequencies.

My left ear is worse than my right so that aid has to fill in more missing stuff.

It isn't normal hearing but it is a big improvement. I've been wearing them in sessions for around 6 months now and it is amazing what I can now hear.

The cost is prohibitive for many and they are not yet widely available on the NHS (UK readers only). Mine cost me around £2700 for the pair and the batteries need changing about every two weeks.


I used the Boots Hearingcare service in Hull and I can only praise the audiologist there who didn't try to sell me anything, saw me every week or so until I was happy with things and keeps following up to see if averything i still OK.

roger


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,rock chick
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 07:57 AM

You were lucky Roger, I work with the deaf and hard of hearing, quite a few of these people I know have gone privately for digital aids and have ended up with very bad fittings etc, don't get me wrong there are a lot of companies out there who are very good. If you are lucky enough to live in the area where the NHS are doing the digital aids you may be able to get one, having said that once a NHS hospital has been chosen to do the digital aids it takes time to install the equipment and to train the staff, so it could be a year before they start issuing them, then of course you have the waiting list.

IF you find your hearing loss is effecting your work you are able to claim help through 'Access to Work' you have to contact your DEA (Disability Employment Advisor) at the Job centre Plus office local to you, they will in turn go through the paper work involved, you will then get assessed by an assessment office (like myself) to visit you at your place of work and to establish what equipment would be helpful, if any, this could also include the possibility of a digital aid, a report is written by the assessment officer, it is then down to Access to Work pays a proportion of the cost of support together with your employers, they may ask for a contribution from yourself for digital aids, however this can still be cheaper then funding it all yourself. You can find all this information the Job Centre Plus web site, www.jobcentreplus.com under Access to Work.

This is only the basic information have a read of the web site for the full blown version, it could save you a great deal of money, and improve your situation greatly.


rc


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Gern
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 09:17 AM

I have major loss in both ears, resulting from genetics, measles and loud music. Tinnitus and high tone loss come from playing music, sadly more damaging to hearing already impaired. After considerable experimenting, I have settled on digital hearing aids: Phonax brand. Very expensive, with no insurance help, which is quite typical. These have pre-set programs to trigger compressors and handle situations with competing noise. My music is now entirely acoustic, and the aids have helped a lot. It's a miserable thing for someone who loves music, and it's very difficult to cope with socially. Hearing loss is also very difficult for loved ones to live with, because we retreat and give up when communication becomes too frustrating. I sympathize with the many who have posted here.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 03:45 AM

I was pleased with the results the Boots digital hearing aid service gave my father who had severe hearing loss. It did cost me a lot of money but at least we can now communicate by phone. If only he'd stop dropping and treading on his aid he'd be a lot better!
I fear I must do something about my left ear tinnitus/ hearing loss before Herself strangles me for making her to repeat herself all the time.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 07:03 AM

First of all: Q -- if you get stereo phones with a mono/stereo switch, you may damage your hi-fi by setting the phones to to mono, unless you switch your hi-fi to mono too. It's never happened to me (yet), but if you have an expensive set it's better to be safe than sorry.

Harpgirl ... I have moderate high-freq loss in both ears. I just have the one (analogue) aid, which I can wear in either ear. I got it through the British NHS, who are only now starting to make digital ones availabke (I'll have to wait three years for one of those, or pay for one privately).

I can tell you that the analogue ones can make things worse: the background noise is amplified too, and the problem of separating speech from noise doesn't get any better. I'm told the digital ones do help with this. It took me a month or two before I started to get used to using my aid, and I still occasionally have situations where I can't get a comfortable level. Music especially was troublesome; it's not perfect now, and I think it's my perception that has adjusted itself, rather than my handling of the volume control. The big problem I have musically is hearing my instrument over the others; the Conversor (see above) helps here, but it's not always easy to find a place for it. Non-musically, my ears are my biggest problem [yuckiness warning!!]: they get rather runny with wax after being stopped up with the ear-piece all day, and sometimes one or both can be inflamed for a day or more, which prevents me using that side.

Don't be too alarmed! Most people don't seem to suffer all the troubles I do, and you'll probably adjust without much difficulty. Good luck!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 08:19 AM

I recently had an audiology test at our local NHS audiology unit, and gather I've got poor reception at high-frequencies, so they measured me up for a hearing aid. I asked about digital, and was told that they didn't supply them.

But afterwards I did my homework, and discovered that in fact there's now what they call "a rolling programme" for all NHS audiology units to supply them (Modernising Hearing Aid Services (MHAS) website) - and that the unit I'd gone to was the only one in Essex that isn't on this year, though it will be next year. (And here is the RNID website, which is also useful.)

So I've written back to them and told them I'd sooner wait until next year, so as to make sure I can be prescribed what suits me best, rather than having them limited to analogy hearing aids only. (The NHS lend out the hearing aids, but once they let you have one they won't replace it for three years unless your hearing has significantly deteriorated.)

The hearing loss doesn't seem to affect me much with music - it just means I can't pick up some of the dialogue in movies and TV.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Vixen @ work
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 10:37 AM

Dear Harpgirl--

Here are some of my own thoughts and some answers to your questions..

There is no way (yet) to repair aural nerve damage. I have a lot of hope for stem cell research, but at this point in time there is nothing.

I have found that hearing aids, both analog and digital, within their limitations, vastly improve what I hear. You will hear background noise amplified, but your brain already knows how to filter that out, and it will probably learn to compensate with the aids. In addition, the digital aids offer a programmable feature called "sound compression" so that really loud sounds get damped down. If the whistles and humming cicadas are tinnitus or "head noise" they will get drowned out by the aids; if they are actual sounds from outside, and you get digital aids they will get amplified only if they fall in the frequency ranges that you need to have amplified. If you get analog aids, they will get amplified no matter what, but your brain will learn to filter them out, as it does now.

Hearing, as someone mentioned above, fluctuates with several variables--atmospheric pressure, sinus congestion, earwax, etc. You should perform fairly consistently from hearing test to hearing test, but I imagine the standard deviation of such tests would, because of the variables, be difficult to determine.

When all is lost, and an ear is complete deaf, there is a procedure called a cochlear implant, which puts the electronics right inside your skull. It's my understanding that this is very expensive, and is only undertaken when there is no danger of damaging any remnant of hearing, because it is a very risky procedure.

Finally, my inspiration for most of my musical life has been an image of Beethoven, lying on the floor beside his legless piano, composing symphonies. However, three weeks ago I met a young woman with an 80% bilateral hearing loss, who has lived with this level of impairment since birth, and who has only analog hearing aids. She is the organist at a church, plays the piano, and conducts the adult and childrens' choirs and the adult and childrens' bell choirs. She says she can "feel" the harmonies and the music.

Finally, getting vented aids, either ITE (in the ear) or BTE (behind the ear) is essential to mitigating the "head in a bucket" effect and taking care of the air pressure and temperature differential issues. Some people have no problem with these things, others, like myself and Sir Roger above, get "irritable." That's an understatement, I think. The totally occluding earmolds send me through irritable, through cranky, to downright crabby and cross in no time.

I hope that's helpful. If it's any comfort, we're all going to suffer some circumscription of our abilities as we age...as infirmities go, progressive hearing loss is not, in my opinion, any where near the worst.

V


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 01:51 PM

What I was wondering about was a stereo feed to a single earphone, so that both channels are heard in the one earphone (now that everything is so miniaturized). Is that possible?


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: harpgirl
Date: 22 Mar 04 - 02:03 PM

thanks for the info and kind words, Vixen, Kevin and all...very informative and helpful...harpy


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,vixen@work
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 01:20 PM

Q--

Just a thought, I haven't tried it myself, but I tend to try odd things any way--like using headphones as a mic by plugging them into the mic jack instead of the headphone jack.

Here's the actual thought about your question.

Get a signal splitter cable of the sort that will plug into the L and R channel jacks. The other end will no doubt be the wrong gender to accommodate your headphone jack, but you can buy what I call a "gender bender"--a female-to-female or male-to-male connector--(I'm guessing you'll need a f2f) and connect the splitter cable to the earphone cable.

I don't know what your signal quality will be, but it's worth a try...the cable and connector together will probably run you about $10 at Radio Shack here in the states. If you're across the pond, your guess is better than mine.

Just $0.02, fwiw. Good luck.

V


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 01:47 PM

Lost part of my hearing from artillery explosions. And probably too much gunfire around me. I went to the VA, Janet got tired of my, "Say again Hon?" They found some mild scarring in the right ear and frequency loss in both.

The VA got me a set of Starkey CC ite, vented, hearing aids. The first set had no volume control and I didn't care for them. The set I have now has a volume control and I absolutely love them.

My own personal monitor speakers for my voice. I can tell when I'm getting nasaly with my voice and am able to yodel better, I was never very good at yodeling, but it's an improvement. I am profoundly appreciative of the two fine instruments I play as I can actually hear them now.

So singing has seen an improvement with the aids. And my playing is more fun because I can actually hear all of the little nuances I missed before. Large crowds don't seem to be that big of a deal. As long as I focus on who, or what, I am listening to there does not seem to be any problems. But that is something I've overcome by learning how to use my ears correctly. I think when I first got them I was just overwhelmed with the noise. Now it's just part of the sounds I live in.

I would not go back to singing or playing without my aids again. I can play longer without having my ears burn out. And my pitch is much improved. I think I had pretty good pitch before but I notice the difference now.

Just my .02 worth

Steve


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 01:58 PM

Thanks, Vixen. I have copied your idea and will try it out on 'sound' people here.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Red and White Rabbit
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 02:35 PM

those of you who want to try out using stereos with hearings aids or linking into amps might want to talk to Connevans or Phonic Ear. They used to do radio systems that linked up to stereos etc. The new MLX radio systems that work with analogue hearing aids can be connected to TV's and walkman so I guess they will have an adapter for stereos and amps. There is also a system called a portable sound field for those of you who are 'listeners' you can postition the mic which is directional at the front ot the room and then you have the speaker which is about the size of a pencil case next to you - helps if you want to go to concerts and you are not sure if they have a loop etc.

I teach deaf children music and one of the best pionists I ever met was deaf - she could feel the music. I think with people who go deaf suddenly or over time the experience is very different. You have lost a main sense and cant compensate with the feel of the vibrations as easily - low tone instruments are the best - violas/ cellos if you have the space/ double bass/ bass guitars dare I say bodhrans or buffalo drums or any instrument that has really good vibrations through its case etc. Its then a question of practicing to get the feel of the instrument. Sining takes a lot of practice using a tuner - guitar tuner - that lights of when you get the right pitch can help you practice getting the right starting note.

Asking people to be honest with you is another great help. Sometimes you are worse than you think sometimes you are better but if people dont tell you you cant improve.

As for cochlear implants - beware - unlike digital aids they change sound to an electronic noise ( Dalek like) rather than condensing sounds into your hearing range. They are very effective but you have to learn to interpret the new sounds and it is not a quick fix.

For those of you in the UK Rock chicks advice about checking out access to work is great - a friend had her new digital aids paid for by access to work and she is thrilled.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 04:48 PM

like using headphones as a mic by plugging them into the mic jack instead of the headphone jack>/I>

What happened?


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Bassic
Date: 23 Mar 04 - 10:06 PM

McGrath, it does work, not brilliantly but it does work....I remember doing it as a poor student with the cassette unit on my hifi when I wanted to record something and had no mike. I just plugged the headphone into the mic socket and talked into the earpiece. Hey presto....instant mike!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 04:36 AM

You can buy induction loop kits for use at home in sizes ranging from very small to very big, but they are very expensive. Here are the instructions for making your own induction loop with Radio Shack parts, and here's a repeat of the link to Sense-sonic from my ealier post (very good, but pricy).

I emailed Marshall Amps ages ago to see if they had any kit -- or suggestions -- for hearing-impaired musicians, and never got a reply. There are many deaf rockers out there, so I know it's something they ought to know about.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,vixen@work
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 01:47 PM

OK---

This was back in the 70's, remember, when people did strange things and forgot about them...

I wanted to record my cat purring (you'll find out why in a moment). The cat wanted no part of purring into the mic. So I hooked up my (at the time) ultralightweight Sennheiser headphones to the mic jack, put the cat in my lap with the headphones, and recorded about 10 minutes of purring. NOTE: The cat was in no way harmed in this process--she actually LIKED it.

Later that night, when everyone at the party was...(you know how parties went back then?)...I played back the purring tape at normal party music volume. The various reactions were, to understate things a bit, interesting.

So now you know...don't ask me why I did this...I just thought it would be funny, and, in the event, it was. I'm not usually a "practical joker" but I admit I do unusual things sometimes...

V


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 04:13 PM

Got to try that - it sounds like the kind of thing some bright spark always comes up with in a crisis in Star Trek, to get them out of trouble. "It sounds crazy - but it just might work..."


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 04:32 PM

Learn something new everyday. Headphones for microphones - who would of thunk it

Steve


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 03:46 AM

1)Thanks, Kevin, for that link it seems my local hospitals do digital aids if I find I need one.
2)Steve, you're falling apart, mate, check yourself into the NYCFTTS and join the "March 'n' Drool kazoo band"!

RtS
(Sorry, dear I didn't hear that)


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: harpgirl
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 10:41 AM

Don, this thread helped me a great deal..


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 04:22 PM

Can anyone in the US help with the advisability of going with an independent company (in our case, Avada Audiology, which admittedly has no doctors, only "hearing instrument specialists") versus paying for a hearing test with a medical audiologist AND paying thousands for hearing aids (the Avada testing was at no charge- the hearing aids Hunt tried were nearly $7K!!). The test was very comprehensive and very revealing, but oh, the expense of the little devices! But Hut was so amazed an overjoyed at what he could hear with the demo models- I want him to be able to hear like that all the time!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Alan Day
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 05:02 AM

I think for me Allan C posting just about summed up many of my problems. Partial hearing loss many people cannot cope with. Sorting out the odd sentence makes people think you are hearing perfectly well, but just not concentrating on what is being said to you. Of course as has been said very often you guess what is being said to you only to get a puzzled look back or a question asked that you reply yes to when they are waiting for a reply.For me my music is not affected (I think)I play with a guitarist (Will Fly) and I can hear him quite clearly, it is the banter, that I used to be so good at, I cannot pick up now, I dread questions being asked by the audience.
I recently held a party at my house ,one chap was not talking to anybody, so being the host,I started talking to him, he had a hearing problem which we discussed, he later told me that he had been dreading going to our party because of his problem. He thanked me afterwards for our discussion.
As a side issue please remember that when you talk to a blind person ,introduce yourself to them. They cannot see you so he/she does not know you are talking to them.
Al


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Allan C.
Date: 17 May 10 - 06:17 AM

Not very long ago I spent more money than I want to think about on the latest technology from Siemens. I am very pleased with my "Pure 700 RIC BTE" hearing aids. Each has been individually tuned to enhance those frequencies that one or the other ear is unable to pick up adequately. That's just great - but there's more. These things have 5 channels!
What that means is that the technicians are able to customize each channel to accommodate certain situational needs. For me, Channel 1 is simply the normal setting that is needed for the average situation. Channel 2 is set to the particular pitches of my wife's voice. Channel 3 is set to dampen all but the normal speech frequencies, thus reducing the reception of loud machinery noises while allowing me to hear people talking. My Channel 4 is set to enhance musical sounds, giving a little extra push to the frequencies my hearing lacks, allowing me to hear pretty much the whole range of musical sound. Channel 5 is set for the "Tek wireless enhancement". I can plug in a very small transmitter into the TV or even the stereo, then, by way of an equally small, portable remote control, I can listen to whatever the transmitter broadcasts directly into my hearing aids while nobody else hears anything at all. (My wife really likes this feature. She really doesn't like hearing the TV at all.)

Channels are switched by way of a small button on the aids. The aids are able to "talk to one another" and so one only needs to push the button on one aid to change the channels on both.

The aids, themselves are of the "behind the ear" design. The receivers are fairly small and are colored to more or less blend in with one's hair color. (I believe they have brown, gray or tan.) Small wires extend from the receivers to a small knobby thing that fits into the ear canal. It is really very unobtrusive.

What I like about this set of hearing aides over the ones I used to have is that ambient sound is not entirely blocked by them. There is no more of the "head in the bucket" sort of thing and no more having to guess whether I am singing loud enough or too loud.

Of course, I wish the price weren't so steep. But I couldn't be happier with this technology - especially the ability to switch channels for different situations. My wife definitely appreciates not having to repeat herself so much!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Clontarf83
Date: 17 May 10 - 05:08 PM

I have hearing aids--in- the- canal type. My high frequency hearing is shot--my charts look like a ski hill.

I play in a three person band. I sing and play guitar, and there is a fiddle and Irish whistle and harmonica.

I'm having all kinds of problems. When I have both aids in, my guitar sounds incredibly harsh, and when I sing, its like being in a sound booth. The frequencies of the whistle and fiddle make my hearing aids ring with feedback, and my tuning is unreliable as I pick up overtones.

Apart from that its a barrel of laughs. I usually end up going with one hearing aid.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Allan C.
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 07:33 PM

Foolestroupe posted this in another thread. It seemed appropriate to paste it here:

A man was telling his neighbor, 'I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it's state of the art.. It's perfect.'
'Really,' answered the neighbor . 'What kind is it?'
'Twelve thirty..'


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:12 PM

One thing I've noticed, especially in choirs, is that some people have hearing aids that feed back and cause a whistle that everybody can hear. It seems to happen mostly when they get close to other people, link on risers for a choir.
Why?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 06:56 AM

Nobody has mentioned the physical discomfort of wearing hearing aids; I thought that was often a problem?

re cochlear implants which have been mentioned twice in this discussion thread: as I understand it,there isn't just a "risk" of destroying any existent hearing but an inevitability so they would only be used for profound loss. People with implants have to use an external hearing aid linked to the implant. Adults find it very difficult to learn to recognise the new sounds - implants work better for deaf children than for deaf adults. The friend of mine who has an implant says it is useless for music; he has to take it out when listening to music (He has an ordinary hearing aid for his other ear that doesn't have an implant). He plays guitar by using electronic tuner and memorizing chords and he sings rather out of tune.

I read about a profoundly deaf boy who hopes to become a professional cello player, but I note that he is looking towards a career as a soloist. (see message above from Red and White Rabbit)


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 09:40 AM

My husband has had a very difficult and challenging time finding the right hearing aids that won't distort his fiddle playing. For awhile he was trying the most sophisticated, top-of-the-line (expensive!!!) aids, but found that it was over-kill. Now he's got a mid-range pair that seem to work just fine. The audiologist explained that hearing aids are really developed to work with speech frequencies, and that the "music" setting is for listening to recorded or electronically amplified music. She's delighted with my husband, who has such a sensitive ear and is so articulate about what he is hearing.
But what a journey this has been!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 10:41 AM

I go along with what recent posters have said. I had a single UK NHS analogue hearing aid when my hearing was first diagnosed as shot, and it was "sort of" OK. Unfortunately there was no automatic upgrade path to digital - my local health authority hung on as long as possible before changing, and made their "drop in" centre appointment only - the reason they gave was that digital was much more expensive and needed more work by them. Yeah, right.

So I forked out nearly £3000 privately for a couple of in ear Siemens aids. These have only 3 channels, unlike Allan C's 5, but are still pretty damn good and have E2E like his. I also have an unobtrusive remote control - which is superb - but it's so unobtrusive I keep forgetting to take it with me!

I'd urge anybody with problems not to put off an audiology appointment as I did for a few years. It's not your fault that your hearing's bad - it doesn't mean you're stupid - and a good aid or two can make all the difference.

AND - you MUST insure your aids.

The downsides:

Hearing aids can never quite make your hearing the same as it was when you were 20.

Even when set for the music channel my aids are a bit "toppy".

I have managed to break the shells on both of them at different times. Apparently this is par for the course as an old friend has had his reshelled about 6 times! Although mine are insured, it was cheaper to cough up the resultant charge myself because of the insurance excess.

Battery replacement is fiddly and the compartments can break - £10 a time. Batteries are dirt cheap though.

They stop working if you go swimming in them! The above friend has done this twice.

In ear aids can get a bit clogged (yeurch, sorry), causing the shut in sensation, but Siemens aids have a tiny replaceable filter thingy which minimises this. They have just brought out a new version of the filter which is less vulnerable, also green instead of white so you can tell!

I think Clontarf83's problems may be fixable, but one does need to keep badgering the audiologist to set up the aids correctly. They also should mould the things correctly in the first place - they don't always fit exactly.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 10:49 AM

I should have said that ill fitting hearing aids can be a cause of the feedback and whistling Joe mentioned. It should not happen in normal service.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: DonMeixner
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 11:07 AM

I have a 70% hearing loss. My right ear is completely gone and my left ear is down in several frquencies. My residual hearing is quite directional.   I have lived with this for 55 years. I play guitar, banjo, Autoharp, and harmonica in a couple of bands. We use Shure in ear monitors that I can control the volume on. Unless I completely lose my hearing or have it dimished to the point of non functionality I have no plans to get hearing aids.

What I hear is what I am used to. I have no tinitus to worry about. For my needs it is quite acceptable right now. My ENT is a guitarist and we discuss music and hearing quite a bit. He tells me that my auditory nerve in my right ear is functional and undamaged. He could do a reconstruction that would "Turn ON" the ear. But I would probably suffer from un ending tinitus as a result. I would have to weigh some pluses and minuses. He suggests I leave things as they are as long as I am OK with it. The hearing aids he suggests for me that would allow me to have zero impact on my performing are in the $12,000.00 to $15,000.00 dollar range. My insurance would cover about 50% of that expense. I am told my singing and playing is OK so I don't go adventuring into trying to make things better.

My point is hearing loss is an individual thing. Not every one needs to hear better even tho' they clearly have a situation that others might see as a problem. And many things must be considered before the expense is paid.

Don


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Lester
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 11:41 AM

The Sainted Mrs Bailey wears aids and plays Hammer Dulcimer. To aid here along we have rigged a pickup and amp to drive an inductive loop for one aid and the other ear is set to listen to the rest of the band. Seems to work fine. Mind you they are v expensive aids.

EdtheFolkie - you are entitled to free batteries on NHS if in the UK


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,loop
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 01:01 AM

the phone company provided a loop that lets me hear my iPod through my hearing aids. I still don't hear normally, but it's a great improvement.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Sonik tec
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 03:32 PM

Hello
Do any of You have experience with Hearing aids and Synthesizers (Moog, Roland tb303, Access Virus etc..)

Thank YOu


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Allan C.
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 06:54 AM

Sonic, the easy answer is "no" but I am curious as to why you ask. What problems, if any, have you encountered?


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 05:33 PM

I never suspected what a challenge this would be for our band's founder. Thanks for all the info!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 06:13 PM

Sonik tec... I've not come across problems with hearing aids and synthesizers, but induction loops in churches and other public buildings can have issues with amplified instruments, particularly with reverb springs and magnetic pickups, also with unbalanced signal lines, and with dynamic microphones.

Unfortunately there are no guaranteed easy fixes because of the way reverb springs and pickups work, although using a DI box to balance the signal line usually sorts that problem. Dynamic microphones shouldn't really be used (although they can be okay if set up carefully)... electrets are recommended.

Many years ago I was called back to a theatre where we had installed a new loop system. They were having horrendous and unpredictable feedback problems... it turned out that someone had brought in an old Hammond organ (complete with reverb spring) and had connected it to the sound system without first checking that it was okay to do so... which isn't unreasonable, but undesirable!

It cost the theatre a call-out charge and mileage costs for a 150 mile round trip, though, as the equipment we had installed wasn't actually faulty.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 15 - 02:42 AM

So, it's a while later now, and I'm wondering if there are new, better devices. I did sound tonight for a couple performers, and the primary singer has hearing aids in both ears and needed to have a monitor. Is there now a satisfactory, music-quality device that I could have plugged into the line out of the PA system, something that would make a quality radio connection to her hearing aid?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Sep 15 - 08:56 AM

I have lost my high frequencies. I've worn hearing aids for over three years and have adapted very well to them, but I gave up playing in pub sessions a year ago because I can no longer pick out particular instruments to latch on to and interact with. I could probably get by very well with melody players only, but as soon as the strummers and pluckers kick in all I hear is an amorphous wash of sound.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 03:19 AM

I, too, lost all my high frequencies a number of years ago. Digital aids do help but I'll never get my full hearing back.I still play in sessions but can appreciate the comment about the aural wash

Am going for some new aids this Thursday which should improve things but, at the price they are, they ought to!

R


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 05:07 AM

Good luck! I'd be interested to hear how you get on. I do get issues with my aids which I suspect I wouldn't get if I were to pay thousands of pounds for new ones.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,MikeL2
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 05:53 AM

Hi Steve

I too wear two hearing aids and like you suffer from losing high frequencies. It came very gradually to me but like you and others here I now have great difficulties with them. I have especially difficulty in joining in with other musicians.

I used to sing but although I got over throat cancer which left me with some pitching difficulties , I did manage to get round it. But the hearing aids make it extremely difficult to play and sing, especially with others.

I did try some VERY expensive hearing aids on trial and I found them no better that my National Health ones. Maybe cosmetically better in that they were more invisible but for music purposes they were not an improvement for me.

I have no problem with people seeing that I wear aids, indeed in some ways it helps. People who notice tend to speak more clearly when they see them.

I wouldn't recommend buying expensive replacements, certainly not without having an extensive trial - and not just the demonstration provided by most of the Hearing Aid Companies.

Regards

Mike


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 06:34 AM

Thanks for that valuable advice, Mike.

By sheer coincidence, I'm just off to the medical centre for me next lot of batteries!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Louie Roy
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 12:16 PM

I've worn hearing aid for at least 10 years and I have no difficulty backing up fiddle players or other singers but it is impossible for me to try to sing a song with them in my ears. So I take them out and put them in my shirt pocket and sing my song then put them back in or leave them out for the next person in the group.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 14 Sep 15 - 02:12 PM

Jerry has been wearing hearing aids for a year and a half and he loves them. He can now hear both Bev and himself better so our singing has improved. His have four different frequency response curves which he can select depending on conditions and, most of the time, he now hears better than Bev does - especially in noisy restaurants.

To answer Joe's question, there are bluetooth devices available for most hearing aids which allow the wearer to adjust the level independently of the system level. These are generally sold by the hearing aid manufacturer as an accessory and cost in the range of $200-$300. They generally require no electrical connection to the system.
Here is an example. We've not tried one so we can't say about the quality of the sound.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: EBarnacle
Date: 15 Sep 15 - 10:35 AM

I finally accepted reality and got my first set of Siemens bte aids. I can hear again!
My union has a deal with the State of NY and an insurance program called EPIC. The state covered $1500 per ear and EPIC's discount brought the cost to me down to a total of $1400. They might be available to some of you who have other programs.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Mark Clark
Date: 15 Sep 15 - 03:02 PM

I've worn hearing aids now for eight years. I got them because my frequency loss is in the range of the consonants in human speech and it was becoming difficult to understand people with soft voices or unclear consonants. I can still hear very soft sounds and some pretty high frequencies but I much prefer the added volume of the aids and wear them at all times, even while performing.

My aids are by the German company, ReSound. They sit on the back of my ears with a tiny tube going into my hearing canal. There is a soft umbrella-shaped piece on the end of each tube that centers the audio tube and is acoustically transparent so that ambient sound enters as well. The aids each have two mics, one front-pointing and one rear-pointing. That enables me to know the direction that sound is coming from. In tests, I can place sound quite accurately.

the ReSound aids I use are sold in the US state of Iowa under the brand name "Concept of Iowa." I don't know whether they are different than the standard ReSound aids in 2007 or simply re-branded. They use rechargeable batteries and came with a recharger that I can just insert the aids into at night. I think ReSound has since abandoned the recharger idea.

My aids are programmed to provide different amplification at different frequencies to match the results of my hearing tests. I am retested periodically to see if the programs need to change. There are separate programs for each ear.

My aids listed at $5,000 for the pair in 2007 but there was a $1,000 discount for me. There was no insurance coverage available to me, I simply paid for them myself over a year's time. I think similar (but more advanced) aids would list at around $6,000 today.

During the last couple of years, I've been part of a study at the University of Iowa trying to measure the effectiveness of various brands of aids for older people. (That would be me.) I've been tested at length with many brands of aids (including my own) with many different features. I don't get to see the results of the whole study as it's being conducted for particular clients on a grant. The researchers did, however, mention to me that they were very impressed with the aids I have.

My wife, Joy, (a wonderful fiddle player) also has aids but doesn't wear them all the time. Her high frequency loss is greater than mine. Hers are also high-end (~$6,000) aids that are provided to her by the Veterans Administration. I think they may be Phonak aids. They are programmable too and have BlueTooth built in. Joy's problem is that when playing her fiddle, she's leaning her ear over her fiddle and it makes listing very uncomfortable for her. The VA has audiologists and can provide a selection of different programs to fit different situations but they aren't really used to accommodating the needs of musicians. We may go back and see if there is someone willing to spend the time necessary to get this worked out.

Except for Joy's situation, I encourage every musician with hearing loss to find a reputable hearing center and look into a high-end set of aids. I think you'll be glad you did. Aids that are less than top-end may help with general hearing loss, rather like the horns of old, but especially if you're a musician, general amplification isn't going to get you where you want to be. Sometime high-tech solutions are the way to go.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: GUEST,Wima
Date: 05 Nov 15 - 06:42 AM

I got mine from westside audiology, I have a mild hearing loss so I chose the CIC completely-in-the-canal hearing aid( http://www.westsideaudiology.com/hearing-aids/hearing-aid-styles/ ). It is a tiny custom style hearing aid in the ear canal offering very good cosmetics and comfort. The best think I like of it is that it doesn't show when I wear them.


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Allan C.
Date: 05 Nov 15 - 08:33 PM

Some of this has already been said above, but I thought I'd say a few more things about getting hearing aids. Basically, if you suspect you might need them, I do hope you have already made an appointment to get your hearing checked. FWIW I don't, of course, have any idea of your benefit package, if you have one; but you may be surprised to learn that some offer as much as $1,400 PER EAR (yes, ear – not year) toward aids. That is a pretty good reduction in the overall cost.

The technology for hearing aids is continually changing. Because of that I am now on my third set although I continue to use my second set when I'm out fishing or something – just in case I fall in the drink and get the aids wet. (Some of the newer ones, though, can withstand such events.) Although my first aids were from Miracle Ear I switched to a Siemens dealer for the rest. They have served me quite well.

If you haven't already gotten some aids there are some considerations you may want to examine. Mainly, does the company with which you are dealing offer any extras? Mine will even replace some of the parts for free if they become defective. Actually, they'll replace all of the parts for free for a year or two. They also offer free appointments every six months at first and then annually later for the purpose of aid cleaning and for performing any needed tune-ups. Yes, they need tweaking from time to time as your hearing changes. Or you may at first need quite a bit of tuning to get them just right for your needs.

Something that isn't much mentioned in the discussion so far is the frustration of others who patiently (or not) put up with having to repeat themselves because you lost the last part of their sentence while attempting to figure out what you think you heard in the first part from context. This happens even more when the speaker changes topics and you no longer have a context to work from.

As I mentioned above, the technology has changed quite a lot since my first hearing aids many years ago. I particularly like the Bluetooth capability. It is truly wonderful to have TV or music played directly into my head by way of my aids.

BTW, I was quietly informed by a friendly source some years ago that you can sometimes negotiate a better deal with your hearing aid salesperson. Acting upon this suggestion, I got the company to throw in the Bluetooth setup for FREE.

Another thing that is often overlooked in discussions about hearing aids is what else they do for your hearing. When your existing hearing is stimulated by the aids' augmentation of some of the diminished frequencies, some of those frequencies actually become more audible EVEN WHEN YOU'RE NOT WEARING THE AIDS! (Note: this isn't true for everyone.) I didn't actually know about this factor even though I noticed it and even remarked about it long ago in an early post in this thread. "The odd thing is (and I have spoken to other aid wearers who have experienced the same thing) after wearing the aids for a period of time, say a week or two, it seems as though my ears somehow re-learn how to hear some of the sounds I have been missing." A ramification of this is that if your brain hasn't processed sounds of a particular frequency it "forgets" how to hear it and over time this "forgetting" becomes permanent. What this means (for many people) in plain terms is that the longer one delays in getting hearing aids the more irretrievable their hearing becomes.

Don't keep putting it off!


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Subject: RE: Musicians with Hearing Aids
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Nov 15 - 10:07 PM

Don't keep putting it off is the best of all advice. As soon as you suspect hearing difficulties, see a doctor. It is far easier to deal with hearing loss, and adapt to aids, when the loss is mild. If you leave it for too long, it is far harder to adapt. This is the advice of most specialists who deal with hearing issues.


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